Tenant Law in Iowa

The relationship between a landlord and tenant in Spencer, Iowa can sometimes be a touchy one. Landlords and tenants are not always clear on their respective rights and responsibilities.

Both parties to a landlord/tenant relationship are governed by an extensive body of laws and regulations, defining their legal rights and obligations.

Landlord's Rights in Spencer, IA

The most important and most evident right that a landlord has is the right to timely payment of rent from the tenant. This, of course, means that the tenant has a duty to pay rent.

Landlords also have a right to be compensated for damage to the building that a tenant causes, either intentionally or negligently. Any damage caused by a tenant, besides reasonable wear and tear, can be billed, and the landlord can deduct from the tenant's security deposit to pay for repairs.

Tenant's Rights in Spencer, IA

Most basically, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to ensure that the units they rent meet Spencer, Iowa's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are normallyy not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements.

Additionally, tenants are entitled to common areas that are reasonable safe and sanitary. The common areas of an apartment building would include lobbies, laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, and fire escapes (basically, any part of the building which all of the tenants can access). In Spencer, Iowa, these areas must be kept reasonably clean and safe.

Under the laws of Iowa, and the United States, discrimination in housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited. Additionally, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must not discriminate against renters on the basis of any physical disability. They also have to authorize the renter to make reasonable modifications to their apartment, to make it more accessible. Generally, landlords are only required to allow relatively minor and reversible modifications, and tenants cannot compel them to remodel the building, for example. Also, once the tenant leaves, the landlord can bill the tenant for the costs of restoring the apartment to its original condition.

Finally, tenants in most states have a right to be free from unfair eviction. Typically, lease agreements last for a set period of time, and both parties are bound by that contract. Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict clients while the lease is still in effect.

Can a Spencer, Iowa Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?

Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Spencer, Iowa attorney can certainly help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more valuable for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.